Sunday Focus: Dan Bannino
Noir Stills – Following and Being Followed
Once again, the wonder of the Internet comes through.
A few weeks ago I was tooling around. Not sure if it was Twitter or Tumblr or something like that.
But I came across these INCREDIBLE noir images. Stopped me in my tracks. Made me stop scrolling, as the kids say (and that’s now the goal of web content creation – make someone stop scrolling and SEE what you put out there.)
Well the images of Dan Bannino made me stop. I look at a lot of images, images that are supposed to be “noir,” images that think they are noir. But they really aren’t. Something the photographer slaps a fedora on a guy’s head, make it black & white and call it noir. Sometimes it’s in color (that’s fine) but it’s garishly lit and looks more like a commercial shoot for a piece of candy. Or then they go all Dan Winters effect and think that does it to make an image look “noir”.
Dan Bannino doesn’t go either of those routs and it’s a good thing. There is something about Dan’s noir images that made me stop and look, really look.
Noir Stills – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide
Dan’s noir photos are meticuliously planned yet also have the appearance of happenstance. Like you just walked in on something. Some settings ( a gas station – a favorite of myself) didn’t surprise me. Others (a Burger King) did.
Dan, a young man who now lives about an hour outside of Turin, Italy, where he was born, makes it all work, and incredibly so. Then I delved deeper into his portfolio and really liked what I found from his other portfolios as well A little web research turned up a Huffington Post profile of him and his shelter dogs project. And this piece on his Still Diets project.
Dan Bannino – Self Portrait
Dan has incredible vision and production skills. His image and workflow intrigued me. Thanks to the Internet (and Dan being a super nice guy), I was able to reach out to him and start a conversation. Then I thought “Hey, I should do a Sunday Focus on him! I haven’t done them in awhile….”
Wow, has it really been five years since the last one???? Sheesh.
In any case, I emailed Dan about my plan to do this feature, and he graciously said he’d answer some questions for me (and for you, dear readers) about his work and and his focus.
And so…on to the Sunday Focus With Dan Bannino….
JSP Q: Canon, Nikon or Other?
DB: First camera I was shooting with was a Canon, then I moved to Nikon. I’m a happy 5D Mark III owner, but last year Nikon Europe reached me out for a collaboration and from that project I became Nikon Ambassador.
JSP Q: Camera eye? (i.e which eye do you use to look through the viewfinder with)
DB: Right eye, but sometimes I prefer using the live viewer to work better on the composition.
Noir Stills: Dining With Murder
JSP Q: Do you come from a photographic background?
DB: I never attended any photography’s school or courses, other photographers and great
masters of photography are my everyday inspiration, alongside with painters especially
Old Masters as Caravaggio.
JSP Q: Is photography your career? If not, what is?
DB: Photography is my calling. Three years ago I moved to London for pursuing my intention of becoming a full time photographer. After working as a product photographer, shooting objects everyday, I decided to quit and move back in Italy, to concentrate on personal projects. Today, I am working 24/7 as a photographer, yet still trying to making my way among all those talented photographers, regularly working on editorial assignments and etc.
JSP Q: What do you consider is your photographic path?
DB: I started moving professionally into photography shooting only objects creating still life (see that link to Dan’s Still Diets set) especially with food, but I quickly felt
the urge of exploring other subjects, from dogs to actual people. I always like to
experiment and challenge myself, pushing my photography to the next level, but trying to
keep a certain consistence with colors and moods.
JSP Q: How do feel you were able to develop your own brand of photographic storytelling?
DB: Behind great pictures there are always great ideas. Similarly, behind every shoot there
are days, weeks, and even months of research. Everyday life, books, movies and online
news always give me huge inspiration for telling a story. I also find inspiration from books,music, movies and of course I like to spend a bunch of time visiting exhibitions since I’m a huge art lover. Inspiration for the next photo can be just around the corner.
JSP Q: Tell me about the production that goes into your Noir Stills series.
DB: I always start a new series with the aim of telling a story. Noir Stills is a work inspired by 1940s-60s great noir movies’ directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed and Billy Wilder). I’ve developed these shootings with the purpose of making the public an eyewitness to my
narrative, I didn’t want to define viewers’ thoughts with a plot or a story line, but at the
contrary I wanted to leave them freedom to create their own ideas, without influencing
the feelings an image could give.
JSP Q: So you are your a big film noir fan? Which are your favorites?
DB: I am, totally. As said I am an avid crime stories reader and I old movies full
of beautiful details, amazing actors and so many inspiring visions.
My fav..I think I would say Rear Window, The Third Man and The Apartment –
even if it’s not noir genre- for pictures (I think it actually won an Oscar for
that. Ed note: It did win Best Picture in 1961.)
Niche of Wonders – Alice Cooper
Niche of Wonders – Nixxi Sixx
JPS Q: What’s next for Dan Bannino?
DB: At the moment I’m working on promoting my latest series, probably the most boring part, but at the same time the more delicate and fundamental nowadays. And of course, I’m brainstorming for the next project!
Niche of Wonders – Frank Sinatra
Many thanks to Dan for taking some time to answer some questions for JSP. Please check out more of his work on Instagram and Tumblr. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Also, watch this video about Dan and shelter dogs project.
If you have any questions for Dan, please leave them in comments.
All images in this post are copyright Dan Bannino and cannot be used without permission.
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016